Getting the most out of fall in Williston
OBSERVER STAFF REPORT
Many a writer and philosopher has waxed poetic about fall.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” said Albert Camus.
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house,” said Nathaniel Hawthorne.
William Cullen Bryant called autumn “The year’s last, loveliest smile.”
Nowhere is fall more enchanting than in Vermont, and Williston, with its conserved lands and parks, community events and hillside vistas, wears autumn so well.
Let this inaugural guide to fall activities in and around Williston entice you to enjoy “the year’s last, loveliest smile” to the fullest and waste none of that “precious autumnal sunshine.”
Thanks to the Town of Williston’s foresight over decades in acquiring and conserving public lands, there are several great options for fall trail walks around town.
Visit the Allen Brook Nature Trail that begins behind Williston Central School for a novice streamside walk right in Williston Village. Five Tree Hill Country Park off Sunset Hill Road is a more advanced walking option with hilly terrain and a vast view as a reward. Oak View Hill Trail is located opposite the Isham Family Farm, allowing folks to make a day of walking the trail and visiting the farmstand for pumpkins, corn maze and other classic fall fare.
Maps and access points to all of Williston’s conserved public lands are listed at www.town.williston.vt.us.
Healthy Living Market and Café is relatively new to the community, having opened last year, but it is making its mark this fall with a first-year “Hometown Harvest” event. The Saturday Oct. 9 event will be a celebration of all things autumn with live music, food tastings, kids activities and more. The event takes place at the store at 129 Market St. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Another upcoming event for those interested in the future of public lands is Wednesday, Oct. 6 — a public meeting on the future of Allen Brook Community Park. The park is located next to Allen Brook School on Talcott Road and currently has a recreation path and two all-purpose athletic fields. The town is seeking input on a master plan for the park to hash out ideas that include tennis and basketball courts, a playground and a pavilion. The meeting will be from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. at the park, 497 Talcott Rd.
Another, far-more-broad opportunity for public input is the statewide Vermont Climate Council hearings being held this fall to guide the state’s forthcoming Climate Action Plan. The process was set in motion through the Legislature’s 2020 Global Warming Solutions Act. While several in-person, outdoor public input events were held earlier in September, the series continues this week and into early October with virtual sessions. Log on this Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. or Wednesday, Oct. 6 from 6-7:30 p.m. to help the state figure out the best way to achieve its goals of reduced greenhouse gas pollution and climate resiliency. Visit www. climatechange.vermont.gov/getinvolved for Zoom links and more information.
The Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association has a searchable list of orchards that offer pick-your-own apples, cider and other homemade treats that make visiting an apple orchard a rite of fall, especially for families.
The closest for Williston residents is Adams Apple Orchard at 1168 Old Stage Rd. Its pick-your-own apple orchard is open through mid-October, and the on-site market offers specialty foods, maple syrup, pies and apple cider.
In neighboring Essex, Chapin Orchards is a popular spot for apple picking and apple-based food sales in the barn. Also nearby, Hinesburg’s Yates Family Orchard offers nearly 30 different varieties of apples, a shop with fruit-based treats and sweeping views.
Visit www.vermontapples.org for more information.
Vermont’s hunting seasons are very specific in terms of what hunters can harvest, with what type of firearms at what time of year. But nearly all the different types of seasons take place in the fall.
Bear season, including the controversial practice of hunting bears with dogs, runs through Nov. 21. Deer and turkey archery season starts in October and deer youth weekend is Oct. 23-24.
But the heart of big game hunting season is during the last two weekends of November. There are also time windows for bird hunting and trapping throughout the season.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department publishes a comprehensive “Vermont Hunting and Trapping Guide” available at www.vtfishandwildlife.com/hunt.
“Hunting in Vermont is a tradition that extends back before the country’s founding,” the website says. “In fact, Vermont was the first state with constitutional language that protects its citizens’ right to hunt. With the state’s combination of rolling farmland and thick woods, hunting remains popular and a way to put truly fresh local food on the table.”
The pace of vibrancy of fall foliage is affected by a few key factors, including the amount of sunlight in the early fall, air temperatures and soil moisture. But regardless of the year or conditions, Vermont foliage won’t disappoint.
Colors begin popping in mid-September and continue until the leaves fall in November. Color generally begins in the northern parts of the state and higher elevations before spreading statewide.
Peak foliage is a moving target, but is typically during the second and third week of October in the Champlain Valley. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has an interactive state map at www.vermontvacation.com that shows the expected color (early, peak and past peak) by date. It also describes Vermont’s 10 scenic byways that are all excellent driving routes for leaf peeping excursions.